Revised EYFS – Updates May 2021


Documents and Resources:


The final versions of the EYFS Statutory Framework and the non-statutory Development Matters curriculum guidance are now available for schools to download in preparation for implementation from September 2021 ( The statutory framework also includes the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) requirements for September 2021, further guidance for schools on the RBA is also available on the government web site.


The National Children’s Bureau (NCB), along with Ofsted and DfE have recently delivered a series of events to support schools and settings in delivering the revised EYFS, along with the key messages on the reforms. Videos, podcasts, and the revised documents can also be found on the Foundation Years web site (


The EYFS Profile Handbook 2021 is also available, however, this is likely to be updated next year as the Profile assessment is not mandatory this academic year due to coronovirus disapplications.


Specialist schools and colleagues supporting pupils with complex SEND may find the new Birth to 5 Matters EYFS guidance helpful in tracking progress and ongoing assessment (see further information below). This guidance can be downloaded free from


Schools may also find the EQUALS document ‘The Characteristics of Effective Learning for Pupils with Complex Learning Difficulties…‘ a useful tool for tracking and recording small steps. This document is free for Equals members via our web site .


Comments and Key Changes relevant to SEND:


  • Colleagues will have no doubt noted that although there are still 17 Early Learning Goals, there are significant revisions and adaptations resulting in higher expectations in some areas of learning. This could have implications for attainment for many pupils with complex SEND.
  • As before, requirements state that the Early Learning Goals should not be used as a curriculum (1.8), and the Development Matters curriculum guidance has been significantly revised. This no longer gives age/stage bands, but is organised into 3 main bands: 0-3 year olds, 3 &4 year olds, and Reception. This change may not be helpful for ongoing tracking and monitoring of small steps of progress. Practitioners may find the more detailed curriculum guidance produced by Birth to 5 Matters more useful especially for children with complex SEND. 
  • The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning continue to be a requirement and are to be reported on as part of the Profile assessment. There is debate as to why they are called effective ‘Teaching and Learning’ as opposed to just ‘Learning’ , as they reflect children’s learning styles and characteristics rather than adult behaviours! More of this debate, along with additional guidance relating to the characteristics which could be useful for SEND, can also be found in the Birth to 5 Matters curriculum guidance document.
  • The EYFS Profile assessment continues to be statutory, with the added requirement of the Reception Baseline Assessment to be completed from September. Although guidance states that the RBA is to be completed for all pupils, including those with SEND, Head teachers can consider disapplication (see Annex B page 49 point 17 of the Statutory Framework). The process for disapplication, however, is not included in the guidance.
  • Note that the Profile Handbook (3.3) states clearly that the P scales and pre-Key Stage standards should NOT be used as assessment for children within EYFS. 
What do you think ? Have your Say….At EQUALS, we are committed to supporting schools and practitioners in the best ways possible, therefore we are interested in your comments and feedback on any of the above points.You can comment or make suggestions via our website contact form  
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